Travel Gear Blog |
Home 12 Days of Travel Gear Giveaways

Garmin Venture HC GPS Review

Garmin Venture HC GPS–get off the beaten path without losing your gps signal.

Having handheld GPS unit can inspire trail adventures and provide an extra safety margin when exploring off the beaten path and the great outdoors.

The Garmin eTrex HC is the entry-level mapping receiver in Garmin’s eTrex H-series lineup. This Garmin model features a high-sensitivity receiver for superior reception, even under canopy in the forest or jungle. It also features a bright color screen, and the ability to load topo maps (purchased separately). Overall, the Venture HC is an excellent backcountry GPS.

Keep in mind, however, that because this is an entry level mapping unit, and as such, the eTrex Venture HC provides basic navigational assistance on a small color screen by essentially connecting the dots from the current position to a programmed destination. Unlike automotive GPS devices, the hiking units like the Venture HC do not provide turn-by-turn or spoken instructions.

The standard base map includes major bodies of water, cities, interstate, national, and state highways, and coastlines. Additional map information can be transferred from a computer.

The Quick & Dirty:
Where you can get one:
Garmin eTrex Venture HC GPS Receiver $125

Why it Rocks:

    • 1.4×1.8-inch color screen
    • High-sensitivity receiver
    • 24MB internal memory
    • Geocaching ready
    • Base map included
    • Ability to add partial maps
    • New high-sensitivity chipset delivers super-fast signal aquisition and lock for reception in narrow valleys, dense woodlands and urban jungles
    • 256-color TFT technology produces a bright display that can be read in direct sunlight and is backlit for easy night viewing
    • Follow 50 reversible routes with up to 250 user waypoints per route; waypoints can be named and indexed by graphic symbols within GPS unit
    • Audible alarm sound signals anchor drag, destination arrival, off-course, proximity waypoint and clock time functions
    • Trip-computer calculates current and average speed, sunset and sunrise times, trip time and total distance over ground
    • Weatherproof case keeps unit functioning in wet conditions; waterproof to IEC 529 lPX7 standards
    • WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) enabled receiver delivers sub-3-meter accuracy

Seat-of-the-pants rating: 8 out of 10

While this GPS lacks some of the fancy features of more sophisticated models, it has many of the common features desirable for a casual hiker, plus a few extras—and is one of cheapest models out on the market. Overall, it’s a great value.

Looking to buy? Here’s where you can get one:
Garmin eTrex Venture HC GPS Receiver $125